Helping you through breast cancer treatment

A testing time: More tests

A testing time: More tests

The whirlwind of a breast cancer diagnosis may lead to more tests. Some tests that you may have to undergo, or that you may hear about, are listed below. This is not a complete list. Not everyone will need these tests. Your breast surgeon or oncologist will tell you if you need these tests. Some of the common tests that you might undergo are the following:

1. Sentinel node biopsy: This is carried out by a needle test or by surgery to test the lymph nodes for cancer cells and thus whether the cancer has spread from your breast to your lymph nodes.

2. BRCA test: this is a test to see whether you carry a genetic mutation to one of the BRCA genes which can lead to an increased chance of developing cancer in your other breast or ovarian cancer. It is given to women with a family history of breast cancer.

3. Oncotype DX test: Some breast cancers do not require chemotherapy. Your oncologist may carry out this test to see whether you would benefit from chemotherapy.


The absolute best place to find out more about the sorts of tests that you may undergo after a diagnosis of breast cancer is to get a copy of the book “The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer” by Professor Trisha Greenhalgh and Dr Liz O’Riordan (breast cancer professionals who have also had breast cancer). Their book is full of helpful information about going through breast cancer and understanding the medical side of things.

SNB: Choose the “surgery to the lymph nodes” link from the menu in this link on the Breast Cancer Now website.

BRCA test: The Royal Marsden website has a “Beginner’s Guide to BRCA1 and BRCA2” (visit their site and search for this)

Oncotype DX Test: Information on the Breast Cancer Now website

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